Archive for October, 2011

The Night Before

I remember being six years old.

In those days, I looked forward to Christmas Eve all year. In my household, every Christmas Eve was marked by the largest family gathering of the year. Great people, great food, and topped off with a visit from Santa Claus himself, with presents in tow.

The night before Christmas Eve, I could never fall asleep. Heart pounding. Knees shaking. Eyes wide open, glancing at the clock every three minutes to see how much time had passed. I knew that in just mere hours, the day that I had been looking forward to for 364 days would be here.

And then I grew up. And for some reason, along with growing up, I lost the ability to go completely out of my mind with excitement for something. Christmas Eve is still my favourite day of the year, but I sleep calmly on the night of the 23rd. Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe not.

But it feels good to feel that way again.

RANT #20: The Occupy Movement

Geez, I hate it when people don’t listen to me. Six months ago I ranted about how obnoxious peaceful protesters are some of the worst people of all time. And for a while they fucked off and left me in peace, but now they’re back with a vengeance.

This time they’ve got this whole Occupy Movement going on. And though I’ve tried quite hard to ignore it, it’s pissed me off to the point where I can no longer do so.

Now, the first question that springs to mind when looking at any sort of protest movement is: “What are you fucks trying to accomplish?”

This is an absolutely vital question. And the answer itself isn’t as important as whether or not there’s an answer at all. In the case of the Occupy Movement, there is no answer. More correctly, there are too many answers. If you go into the middle of the crowd and attempt to start the old “What do we want?/When do we want it?” chant, you’ll get as many different answers as there are people. Some say it’s a protest against a corrupt government. Some say it’s an expression of anti-consumerism. Some say they want a redistribution of wealth. And some truly dense individuals say all they want is for more people to join the amorphous movement. In the end, no one really knows what they’re doing, and we’re left with one enormous blob of a movement.

So that’s issue #1. Issue #2 is the type of people who are protesting. And it just so happens that I have a case study for you guys, courtesy of Facebook. Get a load of this shit.

Bitch’s Occupy Sign

I think some context may be required before I pass my incredibly harsh judgment. First off, the person who posted this goes to York University. If that doesn’t set off any alarm bells in your head, let me give you a handy phrase we Ontarians like to use when selecting our post-secondary institutions: “If you can use a fork, you can go to York.” Yeah. It’s that bad.

Secondly, let’s look at some of the claims here. Halfway through university and nearly $20,000 in debt sounds fishy to me. York’s tuition is just north of $6,000, so even if you include her third year (which clearly she has), she owes $18,000, ASSUMING that she has put forth a total of ZERO DOLLARS towards her university education over the past two years.

But I think my favourite part is that wonderful central blurb: “I will spend many years paying this off… and probably just as much time trying to find a job that will pay me more than minimum wage.” This is possibly one of the douchiest things I’ve ever heard, given that its source is a middle class university student. There are plenty of people who are struggling financially during these rough economic times. There are people who are doing their best to find employment and cannot, despite their best efforts, because there are simply no jobs available in their area of expertise. And you, middle class university student, have the SHEER GALL to complain about the job market? You know, in a way I’m inclined to agree with her though. It’ll be many years before she finds a job because no one wants to hire someone who went to fucking YORK.

And as much as I wish I could say that this person is just a blip on the radar, and that everyone else who is protesting has actual reason to be upset, this is not the case. Check out a few photos, generously donated by Wikipedia, and you’ll notice that the crowd is predominantly young people. I won’t use the word “hipsters”, but I feel as though I wouldn’t be far off the mark in doing so.

What I’m trying to say is that aside from one old man with a microphone, the people doing the bitching are people of about my age. People with little to no life experience outside of school, many of whom are still semi or entirely dependent on their parents, financially or otherwise.

The third and final issue is one that I touched upon last time, so I won’t go into much detail here. Simply put, these people aren’t going to affect any sort of change. For all their extensive planning, they’ve picked the wrong countries to protest in. They’re protesting in Canada, in the United States, in the United Kingdom, and across the rest of Europe. In other words, places which are politically boring, and which don’t tend to change much over time. In Italy and Spain it’s possible that we’ll see some sort of shakeup as a result of the protests, which have been notably larger and less peaceful than anywhere else. But in Canada? Get serious.

Add everything together, and what do you get? A bunch of young fucks protesting against absolutely nothing, with no hope of achieving their nonexistent goals.

On the bright side, the world is supposed to end in three days.

Bringing Out The Moon

I remember being six years old.

My great uncle, Mimi, fancied himself as something of a magician. He used to do all sorts of tricks for us kids while we sat at the dinner table – cutting pieces of string in half and then magically restoring them, making small objects disappear, and the ever-popular I’M DETACHING MY OWN FINGER gag. We were six, so this was riveting stuff.

Not only was he a magician, but he was a storyteller too. It wasn’t enough for him to just perform these tricks. There had to be a story behind it. One of my favourites was the tale of Gigi and Gigette, two birds who were hopelessly in love with one another. Wherever one of them went, the other one would follow. And as his tale unfolded, he produced two small pieces of tin foil to represent the birds. And when he suddenly made Gigi disappear, our eyes turned to Gigette. Sure enough, she too vanished before our very eyes. And then when Gigi made his reappearance, he was followed closely by Gigette. Fantastic.

These wonders should have been enough, but we were greedy children, continually demanding new and better tricks whenever we saw him. This was unfair of us – he wasn’t a professional magician, and though he had a wide variety of tricks, his repertoire wasn’t infinite, and seeing him detach and reattach his thumb for the hundredth time didn’t have the same effect.

And then he brought out the moon.

We were seven by this point. It was the middle of summer vacation, and we were staying in a cottage north of the city for a weekend in order to relax and get away from the many stresses that a seven year old faces in daily life. Uncle Mimi was there with us, and so of course we inquired of him what sort of tricks he had in store. We expected him to begin to tell one of his famous narratives, for which he would perform a trick later.

Instead he gave us a single sentence: “Tonight, I’m going to bring out the moon.”

WHAT? Our minds raced over what this cryptic statement could mean. Surely no man had the power to summon the moon from the sky. This was lunacy.

That evening, we all sat by the campfire, roasting marshmallows. Uncle Mimi was there too, wearing a ball cap. In the back of our minds was his promise. And then, just as we ran out of marshmallows, he announced to us that he was about to bring out the moon. We all stared at him, awaiting his next move. And slowly, deliberately, he reached towards his ball cap and removed it. Our mouths dropped.

His hair! It was gone!

Inconceivable! Absolutely inconceivable! His hair had been there mere hours ago! We asked a thousand questions of him, but he refused to answer, instead bidding us goodnight with a wry smile on his face.

The next morning, his hair was back. We asked him to bring out the moon again, but he refused. We begged, we pleaded, we cried out for him to do it again, but he wouldn’t. The greatest magicians never reveal their secrets, and so Uncle Mimi never gave us an explanation as to how he had performed this trick, and never brought out the moon again.

I’m much older now than I was back then, and I’ve learned a thing or two along the way. I’ve learned what a toupee is, for example. But sometimes I can’t help thinking back to those glorious days when I didn’t know that much, and when the simple act of a man removing his false hair could electrify an entire weekend.